Otti’s disruptive approach to governance; a model in local administrations

Gov Otti’s introduction of a disruptive political system does not have the semblance of a government looking for career politicians to ‘settle’ at the detriment of the interest of the larger public 

By NjokuSaintJerry A / Nwahiwe, Chinonyerem Cleverson

With the appointment of INEC Ward Councilors across the 17 LGA’s in Abia state to support the works of the recently inaugurated Mayors in grassroots government, Labour Party Leader and Governor of Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti has entrenched a 360 degree departure from the traditional political administration of previous government of Abia State.
There is every clear indication that Governor Otti is intentional in this volte face approach to governance in one of South East most promising commercial region.

Gov. Otti is Strategic about spreading development across the 17 Local Governments of Abia State. To do this, he needs to work with men and women who have done well for themselves in their personal endeavours and are very willing to do the same for the general public.

Cutting of costs in governance and delivery had made the governor to restricts the appointments within the INEC wards rather than the ABSIEC wards in practice which was introduced in the early days of the PDP administrations in Abia State as a form of soft patronage of political participation and benefits

However, the labour party leader’s introduction of a disruptive political system does not have the semblance of a government looking for politicians to ‘settle’ at the detriment of the interest of the larger public neither is he looking for those to share the monthly allocation of Local Governments with, but those he can sit down with, discuss strategies to develop their local governments and pull their powerful networks/contacts together to implement the strategies to fast track socioeconomic development in each of the 17 LGAs

 The Governor is not looking for those who will think that they have financially arrived once the Local Government allocations start dropping, but those who will think of how to explore other avenues to increase their monthly allocations to fund and spread development projects across their LGAs.   

Take for instance the roll call of men in the category of Dr. Elelenta Nwabuisi Elele, an Engineering Mathematician responsible for leading and advising USA’s Department of the Navy on Modeling and Simulation Verification, Validation & Accreditation (VV&A), etc; Air Vice Marshal Chinwendu Onyike (Retired); billionaires like Chief David Ogba (Bourdex); Ide John Udeagbala – a foremost industrialist in Aba; retired managers and senior staff of International Oil Companies and Multinationals; Business tycoons; and so on to leave their comfort zones to lead the task of rebuilding their Local councils from the ruins of the past is a testament of vision meeting vision, capacity embracing capacity and patriotism converging to bring good governance to the door steps of Abians and residents.

Reacting on behalf of the other Mayors after their swearing-in, Dr. Elelenta Nwabuisi Elele, the Mayor of Isiala Ngwa South LGA said “All I’m telling you is that there is a change in Abia, you can see it. Alex is setting a standard that others will copy. 

In response, Governor Otti said; “The purpose for us is to have the Local Governments compete with each other and be centers of development rather than centers where monies are shared. They will even have more resources to support what they are getting to develop their Local Governments.” 

Yesterday, 15th December 2023, the newly inaugurated Mayors of the 17 Local Government Areas of Abia State swore in the supervisory councilors that will help them deliver governance close to the doorsteps of the people.

   The purpose of having Local government as the third tier of government is to bring governance and development closer to the people. By doing so, all-around sustainable grassroots development would be achieved and the citizens will feel the real impacts of the dividends of democracy.

In the last two decades in Abia State, that purpose was blatantly defeated as the people completely lost out. The local government administration was used as political patronage by past governors to reward loyalists and stooges just to maintain their political structures and embezzle LGA funds. The Transition Chairmen as they were then called were mere place-holders and partners in crime with the previous administrations who mismanaged LGA funds.

They were errand men and women for the leaders of the corrupt establishment that sequestrated our commonwealth and ruined the fortunes of our dear State for decades.   

The 17 Local Governments were not just economically emasculated and politically deprived in the last two decades, they were economically and politically conquered territories of the corrupt establishment that held Abia down.

Their Federal Allocations were diverted and mismanaged. They were politically deprived as the elections or appointments of the former Chairmen were merely done by the corrupt political establishment to sustain and maintain their political grip and electoral heist on the people and not to bring government closer to them. 

  On the 30th of November 2023, history was made in Abia State as Gov. Alex Otti, OFR, swore in 17 eminently qualified personalities who have done well for themselves in business and career as Mayors of the 17 LGAs of the State. The appointment of these men and lady of timber and caliber as mayors was a total departure from what was obtainable in the past when parochial and primordial considerations were placed above public good. 

In the words of leadership expert John C. Maxwell, “To grow your efforts as a leader, lead followers, to multiply your efforts as a leader, lead leaders”. What Gov. Alex Ottti, OFR, has done by appointing these successful individuals as majors is to multiply his efforts to fast-track development in every part of Abia State. 

For these mayors, it is not about the name or how big the office is, it is to join hands with a man who has shown uncommon passion to lead Abia State out of the woods unto greatness as quickly as possible and ensure that the impacts of that greatness is felt at the grassroots level.

These mayors are not representing any parochial interest within their LGAs but public interest. They are not there to fund or maintain any political structure. The people of their LGAs are the structures they are to maintain through effective and efficient deployment of the resources accruable to them to drive developmental projects and programmes.

They are not your regular career politicians without a second address. These are technocrats and administrators with proven track records of success in their different vocations. They already have a name to protect and would want to leave legacies that posterity will kindly remember.   

Beyond the monthly allocation from the Federal Government, Gov. Otti has assured that they will have more support to implement progammes and policies that will impact the people positively. Unlike the previous governments that took from the Local Governments, the present government is offering more support to the Local Governments to serve the people better. 

Responding to a question asked by a journalist during his monthly media chat on the 30th of November 2023, Gov Otti. said “The purpose for us is to have the Local Governments compete with each other and be centers of development rather than centers where monies are shared.”  

  Getting governance right at the LGA levels is key to laying a strong socio-economic foundation for the entire State. To achieve that, the political and economic resources of the LGAs must be entrusted to individuals whose loyalty is to the people; hence they will ensure equitable deployment of the resources in the service of the people.

That is what the Alex Otti led Labour Party Government has done for a wider consultations with the people of each LGA represented by well-meaning stakeholders.

Njoku Jerry Ajike is the State Publicity Secretary, Labour Party, Abia/ Nwahiwe, Chinonyerem Cleverson is a member of the Alex Otti’s New Media Team   

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